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Subjectivity

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 82–99 | Cite as

Subjects of value and digital personas: reshaping the bourgeois subject, unhinging property from personhood

  • Beverly Skeggs
  • Simon YuillEmail author
Original Article
  • 23 Downloads

Abstract

Social media may have brought about changes in our understanding of property and subjectivity. Contrary to the rhetoric of ‘sharing’ and ‘disruption’ associated with it, this paper proposes that these changes are far more dependent upon existing class-, race- and gender-based constructions of the subject and property ownership than is often assumed. Drawing upon interviews and findings from a study combining qualitative methods with Software Studies approaches, we argue that the bourgeois paradigm of ‘possessive individualism’ has been extended and capitalized through platforms such as Facebook. In doing so, the potential for capital to extract value from possessions and capacities (such as land and labour) has been extended to capture value from personal attributes (as data) through processes of curation and aggregation. In doing so, the ambiguity between property and propriety upon which the bourgeois subject was originally founded is expanded whilst simultaneously extending and exploiting the inequalities that this facilitates.

Keywords

Facebook Class Property Capital 

Notes

Funding

The research for this project was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council Grant ES/KO10786/1.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, GoldsmithsUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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